Massive multi-million pound expansion plans have been unveiled for Cambridge crematorium.
Cold storage facilities for corpses are set to be constructed at Cambridge crematorium to cope with mass casualties from a disastrous pandemic or major disaster.
And a pair of super-size cremators will be built to cope with the growing girth of the population.
Additional space will also be made available for the installation at some point of futuristic technology which would allow bodies to be freeze-dried or dissolved instead of burned.
Having decided the new equipment could not be fitted into the existing building without major disruption to mourners, managers propose to build a new crematory to the east of the site on Huntingdon Road.
Paul Necus, the city council’s head of specialist services, said he hoped work would be able to start next month if planning permission is granted.
He told the News the two cold storage units, which could hold a large number of corpses, would be of "great benefit in the case of a pandemic".
The council proposes to replace its four ageing cremators with three new ones, two of which will be £145,000 devices capable of incinerating coffins up to 43in wide.
As previously reported, these are needed following several occasions when coffins had been too big to burn.
The other will take coffins 33in wide and is expected to cost £133,000, while technology will also be installed to wipe out mercury emissions, usually linked to tooth fillings.
The new building will free up the existing space for new offices, family rooms and a public viewing area.
Room will be made available within the current crematory for future installation of "promession" equipment, which chills a body in liquid nitrogen to -196C before it is powderised, or "resomation" facilities, which take three hours to dissolve a corpse in an alkali solution heated to 160C.
These are yet to be legalised but the News revealed they were being closely watched because they give off less pollution than traditional methods.
Mr Necus said work would be managed "with great sensitivity" because the crematorium will continue to operate.
The planning application is being considered by South Cambridgeshire District Council.